When Noor and Ibrahim were little, they had two of the best caregivers ever.
Ms. Gigi and Ms. Katie.
Ms. Gigi operated a daycare center out of her house and we would drop our two little ones off there every morning before we went to work.
Eventually, Ms. Gigi closed the daycare.
But luckily for us, Ms. Katie stayed on with us. She watched baby Noor during the day and the boys when they came home from school.
Ms. Katie had her own newborn son, a beautiful boy named Xander.
We came to love Ms. Katie, her husband Shawn and especially Xander.
They were like family and we spent a lot of time together.
Eventually, Noor went to her wonderful montessori and Ms. Katie stopped helping us at home.
Fast forward to last Saturday night. We were at a fundraiser with the boys and everyone’s Amber Alert went off simultaneously.
Two little boys were missing. Their estranged father had taken them without permission.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the two boys were the nephews of Ms. Katie.
Their names were Ethan Cadenbach and Owen Cadenbach.
Ethan was 5 years old. Owen was 4.
According to news reports, their father took them forcefully from the custody of his own mother, the boys’ grandmother.
He took them to a park, shot them both and they died. He then killed himself.
At the time their father took them, the police were looking to arrest their father for a domestic assault on their mother Elise, Ms. Katie’s sister.
He did the unthinkable.
Elise told the newspapers that the boys’ father did this to hurt her.
His deplorable act leaves Elise, Katie, Shawn and the rest of their family to pick up the pieces in the horrible aftermath.
Two little boys. Shot dead.
We could talk about guns.
We could talk about the violence that some men perpetrate against women.
We could talk about a legal system that is imperfect and that cannot prevent every tragedy.
There will be time for all of that.
For now, Elise is without her boys. Katie and Shawn are without their nephew. Xander is without his cousins.
Katie and I texted for awhile yesterday.
How do you explain this to your kids?
How do you support your sister?
How do you make it through the day.
We see these stories on the news. Too often, sadly.
But when evil comes close, it shakes you to your core.
Makes me want to kiss my kids, hold them tight and to try and protect them from this cruel world.
To pray for Ethan and Owen.
To ask God’s mercy.
On all of us.
We love you Ms. Katie.
If you would be interested in donating to Ethan and Owen’s funeral expenses, you can do so by clicking right here.